Grand Circle — Antelope Canyon

Yesterday we left spectacular Monument Valley, Utah, our memory cards bulging with inspirational images yet to be post-processed, visions of buttes dancing in our heads, determined to make our way to Bryce Canyon National Park — the next exciting venue of our Grand Circle Red Rock Adventure.

The Slots at Antelope Canyon

But on our way, through the unique insight of our fearless leader, Bill Fortney, and guidance of the His Light Workshops staff, we were give the extraordinary opportunity to shoot The Slots at Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona.

OK, so when you arrive in the Lower Antelope Canyon parking lot at Page, Arizona, the experience is underwhelming. A little hut to sign up. That’s all. Then a narrow dirt path to this inconspicuous dry gulch.

I looked around. “Where are The Slots?” I asked one of the group, expecting to view some sort of Sistine Chapel light show experience above ground. The build up from participants who had shot The Slots previously had been extensive. I was pumped, but my bubble was a little deflated all of a sudden. Picture this. On top of the earth it’s barren, rocky, and dust abounds. Nothing amazing.

My fellow participant photographer pointed toward a crack in the ground that looked like a crevice carved out by hundreds of years of gully washer thunderstorms. She smiled. “You won’t be disappointed,” she said. “And we probably won’t be trapped down there with a flash flood today,” she grinned tauntingly.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí (advertised as “Hasdestwazi” by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or “spiral rock arches.” Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock. Despite improved warning and safety systems, the risks of injuries from flash floods still exist.

My fellow photographers began feeding there way into this crack on top of the earth, stepping down a metal ladder system to a level perhaps twenty feet or so below the surface. I could see there was just enough room on the earth’s surface for one person to squeeze through the crevice and descend below. Nobody holding your hand here! Time to man up!

I looked around again. “You want me to go deep under the ground with my camera (already covered with plastic to protect it from the red dust)?” I asked the guide. He grunted and so I went underground.

When I reached the first level, caught my breath, and looked around, I was truly overwhelmed. You can hardly believe what you see — all shapes and lines and colors shimmering from the rock surfaces, shafts of direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon. These red rock formations are simply spectacular. They are so incredible that you want to take a picture of everything all at once. And I pretty much did exactly that.

Shooting The Slots at Antelope Canyon is something that many photographers love to do as part of their craft. For me, it was an opportunity to see another fingerprint of the Lord in viewing His great handiwork. I think everyone should grab a camera and start looking through the viewfinder to slow down and see just how great their God is. And just as you must go deeper below the surface to see The Slots, you must dig deeper into His Word with prayer to know the Lord.

After awhile, Bill Fortney caught me surveying a particular shot, uncertain how to best capture the image. So Bill spent some time teaching me how to look for textures and patterns in the rock surface that could be captured and enhanced in my photos. What a great guy! And let me just say, Bill loves the Lord with all his heart and serves the Lord tirelessly. I have had the opportunity to know him more and love how the Lord is using him in such a powerful way with His Light Ministries and His Light Workshops. What a day!

But the day was not yet complete. There’s more!

Dixie National Forest Entrance — Bryce Canyon National Park

So, later in the day, we made it to the Bryce Canyon area in Utah. After the three hour drive, our caravan gathered at the entrance to Dixie National Forest. At first glance, the area just off the main interstate looked all the world like a western movie set. You know, all red sandstone and pine trees like from Frontierland or Bear Country at Disney World. The sun was getting lower in the sky, but it was perfect timing as the light reflected off the rocks with a special glow that was mesmerizing. We spent another two hours shooting photos until we were all exhausted. Then we traveled down the highway and checked in to our hotel, the famous Ruby’s Inn. After a great dinner, the evening was spent learning about night photography and critiquing photos in a open session. Of course, I loved every minute of it!

Oh what a beauty of a day! Incredible and amazing don’t even begin to describe Bill Fortney’s Grand Circle Red Rock Adventure — a photographer’s dream.

♥ God bless you in the great adventure of knowing Him!

Catherine

myPhotoWalk — Grand Circle Red Rock Adventure — Featured Posts

The Grand Circle is a beautiful, expansive region located in the Southwestern United States. Encompassing portions of five states — Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada — the Grand Circle contains America’s largest concentration of national parks and monuments, linked together by nationally designated Scenic Byways. Some of America’s most extraordinary scenery can be found within the Grand Circle — Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, Utah, and Antelope Canyon, Arizona.

Bill Fortney, a world renowned professional photographer and Nikon legend, founded His Light Ministries upon John 8:12 (NKJV), “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'” He conducts His Light Workshops in spectacular photography locations such as Monument Valley, Utah, Glacier National Park, Montana, and The Great Oregon Coast.
Bill Fortney, His Light Ministries

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